Air purifiers are pretty cool appliances.
We may not notice it, but our air contains many contaminants and pollutants.
Research even suggests that the indoor air we breathe is much dirtier than outdoor air, which explains why my allergies worsen when I’m indoors.
But with an air purifier, you can ensure that you breathe clean and purified air free of dust, pollen, and other harmful particles.
And since we live in a world with increased air pollution, could we use a giant air purifying facility to improve our air quality?
Portable at-home air purifiers can remove pollutants from indoor air, so why wouldn’t a large-scale version of this be able to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere?
Theoretically, this could work, but it might just be too expensive and impractical that it won’t be worth doing.
But that doesn’t mean we aren’t trying.
In this article, I’ll explain how.
Can You Use a Giant Air Purifier to Clean the Atmosphere?
In theory, a giant air purifier-like device could positively change the atmosphere.
Many ongoing projects are exploring this idea with some promising results.
But this doesn’t mean you’ll see air purifiers the size of skyscrapers anytime soon.
An air purifying facility that removes carbon dioxide from the air will not be the same as the ones we use to capture dust and pollen.
But to understand why let’s start with the basics.
How At-Home Air Purifiers Clean the Air
To understand how we can use an air purifying facility to clean the air, let’s look at the at-home air purifier you can find on the market.
Essentially, these devices are just fans with a sophisticated filtration system.
The fan will suck in the air circulating in the room, which causes it to pass through the filtration system. From there, it can capture all the particles and pollutants before releasing them back into the room.
This is how most at-home air purifiers work. While this is highly effective for indoor air, it won’t be able to clean the air outside on a large scale yet.
So, what can we do to clean our air and reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere?
I’ll explain that in the next section.
How We Can Remove CO2 From the Air
There are currently high levels of CO2 in our atmosphere.
This is due to several factors, but the primary one is man-made pollution.
There are news stories every year that explains how bad our climate crisis is getting and how it’s vital that we act now to correct our climate.
One of the ways to do this is by removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
Man-made pollution causes a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air, which traps heat in the atmosphere. This significantly contributes to global warming, resulting in many natural disasters.
So, how can we reduce the carbon dioxide in the air, causing our temperatures to rise?
Currently, we’re trying to find as many ways as possible to reduce the CO2 in our atmosphere.
Below, I’ll explain two of the most popular options that we have at our disposal.
Natural Carbon Storage
Natural carbon storage is one of the easiest and most effective ways to lower the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere.
Natural carbon storage simply refers to natural ways to capture carbon from the atmosphere and convert it to oxygen.
How is this done?
Our plants and forests are the best examples of natural carbon storage!
Remember how we were taught as kids that plants “inhale” carbon dioxide and “exhale” oxygen?
This is what is known as natural carbon storage.
So, one easy way to reduce the carbon dioxide in the air is by planting more trees and creating more space for forests.
This also means reducing the number of trees we cut down and the number of forests we strip.
However, it does have its limits.
For example, one of the ways companies are “going green” is by paying for carbon offsets.
Simply put, they invest in projects designed to correct or “offset” the carbon they produce, such as pledging to plant trees and investing in tree planting and reforestation activities.
However, companies have pledged so many trees that there isn’t enough space for us to plant them all!
On top of that, planting trees won’t necessarily stop climate change.
Humans have significantly damaged our atmosphere, and we must take extra steps to correct actions far beyond natural carbon storage.
Trees aren’t the only place we can naturally store carbon.
There are many other natural places where carbon is stored on the earth.
These include soil, the oceans, fossil fuels, and even rocks.
The earth follows a natural carbon cycle.
However, our activities have disrupted this cycle, so we can’t rely solely on natural carbon storage methods anymore.
Direct Air Capture (DAC)
Another way we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is through direct air capture, also known as DAC.
DACs capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in many ways.
One popular method of storing it includes turning it into stone.
This is probably the closest we’re going to get to a giant air purifier removing carbon dioxide.
This is because, in essence, this is what a direct air capture facility is.
Let me explain why.
There are numerous direct air capture facilities worldwide.
And while they all have their own methods of capturing and storing carbon dioxide, most use a liquid solvent or solid sorbent.
That way, it separates carbon dioxide from the other gases it captures.
From there, the facility releases air that no longer contains carbon dioxide.
They then collect the carbon dioxide in collectors. And once the collector is full, they store the carbon dioxide underground.
A prominent company known for doing this is Climeworks, a Sweden-based company that operates multiple DAC facilities throughout Europe.
They have one of the most extensive DAC facilities in the world and are one of the leaders in the industry.
DACs show a lot of potential.
However, the technology behind this is relatively new.
This means that DAC has a long way to go before we can trust it to sustainably correct the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
Don’t get me wrong, DAC is a step in the right direction.
However, our current climate conditions require more effective and sustainable methods of capturing carbon dioxide and reducing the amount of it in the atmosphere in the first place.
What Challenges Do DAC Facilities Face?
The first challenge that DACs faces is the cost.
Capturing large amounts of air and using advanced technology to separate and store carbon dioxide is not cheap.
So, building numerous DAC facilities worldwide may be impractical at this point.
But most technology gets cheaper as it ages. Hence, there is still hope that DAC will eventually get affordable enough for mass adoption.
But the challenges don’t end there.
Another challenge that DAC faces is how much power it uses.
The process of separating carbon dioxide from the air requires a whole lot of power.
And since most countries use unsustainable energy sources like coal and fossil fuels which add carbon dioxide to the air, powering these facilities might be counterproductive.
That said, DAC uses less land area than other natural carbon storage options.
So, it could potentially evolve into a technology that serves a great purpose.
But right now, it still needs a fair amount of development.
Could DAC Help Us Clean Our Atmosphere?
DAC could be a way for us to clean our atmosphere.
Using a “giant air purifying facility” to remove carbon dioxide from the air may sound unachievable.
However, we’ve reached a point where these interventions may be necessary to reverse the effects of climate change.
To truly combat climate change, we need a multi-faceted approach.
So, aside from DAC and natural carbon storage, we also need to switch to more sustainable energy sources.
This means phasing out fossil fuels, coal, and other unsustainable practice and instead using solar, wind, or hydroelectric power, which could push us in the right direction.
So, while DAC still has a long way to go, air purifiers at home are a great way to keep pollution away from your home.
Considering the details and the bigger picture of climate change is essential.
So, if you want to keep the air in your home clean and pollution free, an air purifier could be the solution.
But when it comes to large-scale operations, an air purifying facility can be a part of the solution but isn’t the only fix.
So, can a giant air purifying facility eliminate CO2 in our atmosphere?
In a way, an air purifying facility can do it.
Advanced DAC technology and suitable power sources could be an excellent method of reducing carbon dioxide.
But in its current state, DAC still requires a lot of work before different countries can fully adopt it.
On top of that, effectively reducing CO2 in our atmosphere will take much more than one air purifying facility.
We’re a long way from bringing climate change down to a controllable level, but we are taking active steps to fix it.